Blackbird Bridges Physical & Digital Restaurant Worlds With Web3 & IoT
April 26, 2023
So a guy walks into an ice cream shop, a dairy-free one to be exact, and gets greeted by an employee who asks "do you have a membership with us?" That guy is me and the scene takes place on a sunny Friday spring afternoon in the Lower East Side of NYC at the original Morgenstern's ice cream shop that has recently been converted into a playful soft-serve concept called Bananas. From April 20-30th, the new concept has reopened its doors exclusively to patrons who have purchased a one-time $33.33 Bananas Country Club membership via its technology partner Blackbird Labs, a six-month-old blockchain-based loyalty startup founded by Resy and Eater founder Ben Leventhal. "Yep, sure do," I reply as the staff member instructs me to tap my phone against a small cube. My phone immediately buzzes, automagically redirecting itself to Safari where I authenticate my cell phone number and subsequently see my check in and earned $FLY currency against my "digital punchcard." I give my order- a regular cup of coconut vanilla and salted peanut butter, which is keyed into a Square terminal, and see that I owe $0.00! I rejoice for a brief moment before realizing that, like most pre-paid memberships these days, the breakeven for my $33.33 investment is after four cups. The tech is pretty slick, but most importantly, the soft serve is delicious.